How Grateful Art Thou!?

Another year, another Thanksgiving.  And I’m a shite ton grateful.   I look forward to coming together and celebrating with friends and family.  I get all teary eyed and nostalgic.  Cliche’, yes, but I can’t help but brag about the wonderful people that’ve  touched my life.  One can never forget. At least not me.

The rendezvous point was at my momz.  The night called for football, karaoke and mahjong.

Here in is the football part of the evening.  Whoop!   This is where my husband camped out all night, handsome as ever.  I could just eat him up.  And this was my one sneak cuddle moment  before he got into the zone.   I didn’t wanna break man-code, by getting all mooshy on him!  This is where I get snarled at if I continue.  He doesn’t ask much of me besides not to bother him when A & M football is on.  So I try my hardest to oblige. I left him in peace.  He is the patron Aggie poster boy. Loyal to the end no matter what!  I love his loyalty!

Then, came the Mahjong part.  Let’s first start off  with 2 of my  O.G.’s. – Ann and Jeff.

 Ann’s been in my life since the first grade.  And Jeff, well, this cats been in my life for 22 years now and our friendships are still going strong.  They, along with a few select others, have been in my life since childhood and have definitely left their imprint.  If you’re blessed enough to still have friendships like these in your life, then you know the feeling of closeness that comes with it.  I’m very selective about the people I spend time with now a days.   I don’t like the company of plastic personalities.  And I can sniff fakeness the moment I walk in a room.   It’s a downer to come across people who you thought were cool only to find out otherwise. Especially when they talk bad about others.   It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  If one can talk trash about others, they can certainly talk trash about you.   So it’s refreshing to hang with besties like Ann and Jeff where honesty and open communication with friends come naturally.   They always have  a way of putting things into perceptive.      There isn’t  a drop of plastic that runs through their veins.  And for that, I truly believe God has given them many blessings in return.  True gems in my book.  Always will be.

So that’s that.  Moving onto a brief overview of Mah-jong.   This is an ancient Chinese game similar to rummy.  There are many provinces in China that has a version unique to its region.   This brings back waves of nostolgia.  I remember my mom and dad playing with family and friends until the break of dawn.  There was always room for mah-jong on Saturdays.  It was happy memories.  Mahjong  came with plenty of  food, cheer, laughter, and cousins to play with.  And that always stoked me out.

I, personally, have been slow to learn how to play.  When I found out however, that there are many variations of the game. I was like what a relief.  My relatives had me going crazy for a moment there. Simply because they always made things up as they went along and never taught me the exact same way twice. I thought “Oh, this makes more sense now”.   I tried teaching one variation I learned on you tube last nite and that didn’t work so much.  My mom was patient yet talked trash in Ilocano for teaching my version all the while shaking her head at my confused friends who were still stumped after an hour of playing.  Gosh, I love her.  LOL.  Somewhere along the way, I got trumped.  She took over and taught us her way.  Which was way easier than mine.

Now, my mom knows a few different variations as well and I swear, every time she tries to teach me, I feel like I’m playing a whole different game.  So when she saw how much we were having trouble, I think she simplified and taught the  “Mahjong for dummies” way.

I am a proud Filipino and I love my heritage and whenever she plays, she starts to reminisce. She would talk about hiding American soldiers in their homes during the Japanese occupation in WWII, setting up a communications base for the G.I’s, stories of dancing for the Queen and her fathers logging business and his journeys to Cagayan, Tuguegarao.  I love it when my momz talks about this because she seldom does.  And I think her history is so interesting.  I would love to go back in time and walk a mile in her shoes.   She told us how my grandfather, who owned the logging business in the P.I.,  had Chinese workers and they taught him mahjong and he in turn, taught my mom their version.

I went back home and watched more variations of the game on the internet, I learned it was a Taiwanese version she decided to teach us last night.

Here she is,  schooling us.  My mother is still smart as a whip when playing.   It brought her much joy to teach us and talk about her life experiences with the game.  And this in turn brought me tremendous joy.  Makes my heart full just talking about it!

We, broke for a snack.  And gorged on leftovers!

Today, I decided to make a super simple Turkey pot pie with our leftovers.

Ingredients:

2 cups turkey meat, cubed

Pillsbury refrigerated pie dough

1 can Camp-bells cream of chicken

1 cup leftover turkey gravy

1 package frozen mixed veggies

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/4 cup water (optional)

1 egg white

I took 2 cups of leftover turkey meat from Thanks giving and cubed it.

 

Put turkey into a bowl, added frozen veggies, cream of chicken, leftover turkey gravy,  thyme and pepper.  Mix well.  Note, my husband did not like the filling thick so you can add up to a 1/4 cup.  Make sure you eyeball it so it doesn’t get too thin.  I would otherwise just leave the thickness the way it is,

Place bottom of pie shell in pie pan

Pour filling and place top crust over pie. Pinch with thumbs or press fork around edges to seal crust.  Make slits in center of pie and brush with egg whites.

Bake in 350 degree preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until golden brown

I played around with a few different recipes this evening so I baked a few individual pies with a recipe my neighbor gave.  My family was partial to this one so here it is on my blog!  Enjoy!

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